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Style Magazine

150th El Dorado County Fair

Jun 11, 2009 12:07PM ● By Super Admin

If you want to get a feel for a county’s roots, there’s no better place to look than at the county fair. County fairs have long been venues for a community to celebrate its traditions of both past and present, probably for as long as such fairs have existed.

It’s fitting, then, that the 150th El Dorado County Fair is titled “Hooves to Horsepower,” marking the changes that have occurred over the last 150 years. The atmosphere of the county fair, however, remains much the same. The smell of a multitude of delicious foods on the breeze, the laughter of children on the fairway, the colorful assortment of crafts and confections on display in equally colorful booths – all of these are what make the county fair the experience that it is.

The first recorded county fair took place in Coloma in 1859, and since the fair didn’t have any permanent facilities; its location varied nearly every year. The fair alternated between Placerville, Coloma and Diamond Springs in the early years following its inception. The town that had the fortune to host the county fair would undergo an amazing transformation, being converted into a fairground for the festivities. This meant that any services or buildings that could be used for the fair would be used for the fair. As one can imagine, this brought a good deal of business to the host town. Simply put, county fair business was good business for all.

It wasn’t until 1939 that the El Dorado County Fair was given a permanent site on Placerville Drive, where the fair has been held every summer to the present day. The county fair still continues the traditions of the past, showcasing the El Dorado community’s strong rural roots. The county fair has always been good at establishing the value of agriculture and the care of livestock in the local economy, as well as promoting local businesses. Of course, a fair has to have rides and a good fairway, and the El Dorado County Fair has always delivered on fun and games for the whole family. Whether that means riding on the Gravitron, listening to local bands and local musicians, watching a Mutton Busting competition or participating in the renowned John M. Studebaker Wheelbarrow Race, the fair has something for everyone.

By celebrating the 150th county fair, fair-goers are celebrating an important part of El Dorado County. It is fitting that the theme of the 150th El Dorado County Fair looks at how far the county has progressed since its early pioneer days. By showcasing the many and varied facets of El Dorado county, as well as displaying the area’s rich historical foundations, the county fair reflects the “heartbeat” of the county itself. Here’s hoping for another 150 years of memorable county fairs!